What Is the Terror Barrier?
The terror barrier is that imaginary wall we all face when we are about to cross over the threshold from our zones of comfort to new zones of discomfort. Everything you ever wanted is on the other side of this terror barrier. Our fears cripple us and keeps us on this side of the wall, from every thing we want. Your dreams of being successful, healthy, and wealthy wait for you on the other side.
“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” Joseph Campbell
The terror barrier is a very real, and you’re going to learn how to smash through it by learning from one of my mistakes. It starts with a motorcycle accident.
The Motorcycle Accident
Here I was, on my first newbie group ride, with 100+ other motorcyclists. We started only 10 minutes ago, but I would be in way over my head very quickly. We hit a decreasing radius turn.
It would catch me by surprise. Going up a hill, I was going slow enough that when the curve continued to decrease, I leaned my bike over at more extreme angles. The next thing I knew, I low-sided, contacted the road, and started rolling.
I was fortunate. A sweep (last rider in a group) stopped traffic, allowing me to get up and walk away from the accident with little more than some bruises and a damaged bike. I would keep riding for another 3 hours that day.
I knew I had to get back on that horse right away. If I failed to do so, fear would keep me off the bike. Besides, I had no other choice but to ride back home anyway.
The rider in front of me would later tell me that he thought my bike was totaled. In his rear view mirror, he saw sparks as the bike slid across the road. He was surprised that I could keep going for the rest of the ride.
The After-Accident Ride
Yet a month later on my next group ride, I was too scared to actually lean my bike while going through a curve. I was afraid of low-siding again. My new sweep noticed and asked me several times throughout the day why I was not leaning, to which I related constantly relived my accident in order to justify my actions (or lack thereof). He was trying hard to help me, but I was stupidly rejecting his advice.
Little did I know that my stubbornness to lean the bike would bite me in the butt towards the end of the day.
As we headed out of the woods and towards home, we were all going about 40 MPH. This was when another decreasing radius curve surprised me. Such is the nature of one. You don’t know it decreases until it surprises you.
Immediately, images of me low-siding and sliding across the highway flashed through my mind. I was bracing for yet another accident. My only goal at that point was to avoid sliding into a tree or pole, and hope that I can walk away from the accident with as little damage as possible. Yet, I knew that 40 MPH was dangerous.
I had hit the terror barrier.
Curiously, the riders in front of me were all going at the same speed and making it. A questioned emerged: If they can do it, then why can’t I?
Why am I thinking about an accident and what to do to minimize the collateral damage? I should be thinking about the ways that I can walk away from this. I should be thinking of ways that I can make that curve on my motorcycle.
Blink of an Eye: Smashing the Terror Barrier
At that very moment, I resolved that I was going to walk away without a scratch.
At that moment, I resolved that I was going to make it through that decreasing radius curve if the others in my group are. I leaned into the curve and actually throttled up slightly. For the first time in a month since my accident, I was also having fun!
Several minutes later, as we stopped to catch our breaths and take a small break (we ride for typically 3 to 4 hours), the sweep had a big smile on his face and congratulated me on what I just did.
I had just smashed the terror barrier. I made it!
I looked fear in the eye and powered through it.
Terror Barrier: It’s Everywhere
The terror barrier isn’t just about being on a motorcycle as you’re going through a decreasing radius turn.
It greets you when you’re about to quit your job and go into business for yourself.
It’s there when you want to talk to a stranger or ask a girl out.
It’s there when you want to start an exercise program. You walk into the gym, only to be intimidated by muscle-bound guys.
The terror barrier resides outside your comfort zone. Your paradigms, your beliefs, and your perceptions desperately keep you in your safe zone.
Outside that safe zone, everything is terrifying. Yet, the only way to get past the terror barrier is to power through it. There is no other way.
You have to take action. As Nike so succinctly puts it: Just do it.
You can visualize all you want. You can imagine what you will do when you hit that terror barrier, seeing all the actions you will take, incorporating all five senses. You include your emotions of fear, anxiety, nervousness, elation and happiness when you visualize yourself breaking through the terror barrier.
Yet, despite all the preparation, it is never quite like the real thing. When you meet that terror barrier in person, it’s suddenly much more real and terrifying.
It’s suddenly do-or-die.
It’s Still Important to Visualize
As you run smack into the terror barrier, if you have spent enough time visualizing, then your new core set of beliefs will kick in as you match the conditions of your fearful situation to the ones imagined and visualized in your mind. Your mind will automatically think of reasons why you should back off.
Yet, if you’ve trained your mind enough through meditation, affirmations, gratitude, and visualization, those new beliefs will become louder than the old, allowing you to power through the fearful and scary situation.
The reward is on the other side of the barrier. Freedom is on the other side. When you finally smash through that barrier and emerge victorious on the other side, emotions of joy, elation, ecstasy, relief, and bliss will take over.
It only reinforces your notion that what you just did was the right thing and a good thing. You realize only your perceptions and your mind-set have been holding you back all that time.
What Happens When You Back Off
When you back away from the edge, when you convince yourself the thing you want on the other side of the terror barrier is of far less value than what is currently on your side, your self-esteem takes a hit. Your mind will say, “See? I told you so. Why are you trying to change me when things are fine just the way they are?”
Do this enough, and the thing you don’t want becomes the thing you get. Do this long enough, and it becomes a habit.
When you get your next opportunity to emerge on the other side of this barrier, you will instead have formed the habit of doing nothing. You chickened out.
Bondage is what happens to you. You become a slave to your own beliefs and expectations. You get failure because you have been expecting failure. These are the results you have been getting your entire life.
This is why it’s important for your own self-esteem that you power through the terror barrier. In other words, form the habit of powering through your fears and doing the thing you fear to do.
If you are looking for more help in this area, I have personally found Bob Proctor, Sandy Gallagher, and Mary Morrissey’s Magic in Your Mind to be immensely effective. It has helped me see the world differently, in the process helping me to overcome and smash through the terror barrier. With the warmth of Bob, Sandy, and Mary’s voice, you will find the advice and strength you need.
More Terror Barriers Emerge
You do the right thing. You see the terror barrier for what it is and power through it. This new way of being, standing on the other side of the barrier, soon becomes your newly reinforced set of beliefs.
The next time, you will encounter yet another terror barrier. You will find that these sets of newly formed beliefs will be what’s keeping you from breaking through victoriously on the other side.
The cycle starts over again. You will have to find a new set of beliefs. You will have to visualize new ways of breaking through a new terror barrier. The only constant in life is change. You either create or disintegrate.
The journey then is what is most important. When you realize you can grow as a person because of the small, incremental steps you take to change your paradigms and your beliefs, you will realize that ours is but a world filled with perceptions. Look at the problem differently. Ask yourself how your favorite mentor or thought leader would tackle the problem. Sometimes, all it takes is a suble shift in perception to affect a huge change.
Whether You Can or Cannot, You Are Right
Start living your life the way you’ve always wanted to live it. Start taking action towards getting what you want. Always remember this: You can find whatever you need to justify your failures. Personally, I find it much more empowering to figure out the reasons why I can.
At the end of the day, even if you don’t get there, you will eventually realize greater and greater loves in your life. You will have found a part of you that until now was too scared to emerge, hiding safely behind that wall. Remember: Goals aren’t about getting. They are about growing.